Thoughts on this day
Sir, – Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Our thoughts go out to millions of innocent, defenseless Jews who were horrifyingly murdered (and to the many millions who would have been their descendants). We must constantly say: Never again.
Now, thank God, we have a homeland to be proud of, with an ever-open door to world Jewry.
We are a very small country, and I ask Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to make it smaller, but stronger.
May God help him and guide him always to take the right path and not be misled or pressured by anyone.
Sir, – “England has no friends, only interests,” said Lord Palmerston, the famous British foreign secretary of the 19th century. Your editorial “Israel and Ukraine” (April 25) could have been taken right out of his handbook.
Palmerston’s philosophy, and apparently yours, is to act in foreign affairs solely on the basis of perceived interests. Not a single word about what is right, values or the moral compass.
Russia has acted in Ukraine as Hitler did in the Sudetenland. How can anyone with a vestige of ethical sense justify or even consider muscling up to the perpetrator, whatever one’s “interests?” On the other hand, Ukraine is a hotbed of anti-Semitism and has what is largely an appallingly unreconstructed history. So we have here a genuine ethical dilemma.
I do not know what is “right” or “wrong” in this matter, but I do know that we should be searching.
The Jerusalem Post should be helping in this quest and not proposing to act solely out of cynical, cold self-interest. This usually backfires.
Sir, – Martin Sherman (“Mainstreaming treason,” Into the Fray, April 25) accuses Alexander Yakobson of treason, inferring he might deserve the death penalty for his opinion on a possible solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict – although that opinion does not vastly differ from the opinions of many ministers and MKs.
In the process, Sherman refers to specific US Supreme Court cases and proceeds to misstate American law on freedom of speech as only someone who is unfamiliar with a liberal democracy can do. A couple of quotations should serve to correct him.
Justice Louis D. Brandeis stated in Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927): “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
As to Sherman’s charges of treason against Mr. Yakobson, Oscar Wilde said it best: “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.”
Yiddish in yurts
Sir, – With regard to “Culturocide: The murder of Jewish culture” (Observations, April 25), in a novel about a place in central Asia that was written by an Italian anthropologist/social worker living in Germany, I found in the glossary a word I know from Yiddish: chlatt (the ch to be pronounced like the Hebrew letter het).
According to the glossary, the word is from the Mongolian (or from one of the Mongolian languages) and is a kind of housecoat of the type worn by hassidic men of standing. I received confirmation of this by somebody who came from there.
Indeed, the Mongolian empire created by Genghis Khan was for more than 100 years the largest empire in human history, so why shouldn’t traces of it remain in Yiddish?
Sir, – While “Average Israeli income-tax rate among lowest in OECD” (Business & Finance, April 25) is factually interesting, I am concerned that it gives a false impression.
To analyze the real standard of living one needs to look at salary levels, taxation and the cost of living.
While taxation in Israel might be low on the OECD list, salaries are even lower, with only eastern European countries, plus Greece and Portugal, earning less. At the same time, the cost of basic necessities continues to rise.
While we should not become overly pessimistic, I believe the untenable standard of living of many hard-working Israeli families is as great a threat to our nation as are the enemies that surround us. I would urge economists and journalists to focus on this very real issue in an effort to push our politicians to grasp this difficult nettle and accelerate their efforts on finding solutions.
Sir, – US Secretary of State John Kerry had his “poof” moment when blaming Israel for the stumbling peace process negotiations.
“Seven-hundred settlement units were announced in Jerusalem, and poof,” he told members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month (“Kerry hints: Israel to blame for deadlocked peace process,” April 9).
Not long thereafter, the Palestinian Authority announced a unity accord with the Hamas terrorist organization (“Hamas, PLO announce reconciliation agreement,” April 24). Maybe Kerry received some clarity with this “epiphany” – can we say it was his “piph” moment? Let’s hope that this latest attempt to resurrect a zombie, 20-year plus Kabuki dance starting with the Oslo Accords will be seen as a fool’s errand. Maybe the time will come when a real peace is possible between the Israeli and Palestinian people. That time, sadly, has not arrived.
Take a closer look
Sir, – It is good that, at last, government ministers and officials are relating to boycott actions and threats and talking about ties with the heads of Diaspora Jewish communities in this respect (“Lapid calls for improvement in anti-boycott tactics, says settlements not the issue,” April 24).
I would caution them, however, to properly read the political map of the leaders of European Jewish communities. They might find, with closer inspection, that some have supported and funded Jewish and other organizations that have acted against Israel with protests and even boycott campaigns.
They would be better advised to look more carefully at independent groups and NGOs abroad that have more effectively, and affirmatively, tackled anti-Israel attacks and which are practiced and committed to counter the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement.
The writer is special consultant on delegitimization issues to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College
Sir, – Your article “Hadassah negotiations ‘stuck,’ union declares work dispute” (April 24) interested me because my brother fell ill during our Passover trip to Jerusalem.
After 36 hours at Hadassah, I found the staff severely demoralized and distracted due to the current labor strife. One nurse conceded that staffing cuts prevented proper patient care. A dedicated senior physician told me he hadn’t been paid in months. Residents said they didn’t have access to rapid test kits for flu or strep.
Hadassah should consider outside business consultation, staffing redeployment, an immediate cash infusion, a shift to a “Cleveland Clinic” model and the elimination of non-income-generating space and admissions. A shift to longterm care, a specialty facility or even non-healthcare use seem inevitable unless something drastic is done.
By the way, 100 years ago, my great aunt, Rebecca Aronson Brickner, helped found a US women’s organization called Hadassah.
GABRIEL ETHAN FELDMAN
The writer has an MD degree from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and is a US Department of Justice healthcare whistle blower